It’s Time to ‘Surrender:’ Maggie Rogers Releases Timeless New Project [Album Review]

Lara Prakash

Maggie Rogers’ new album, ‘Surrender,’ centers on the modern woman trying to find herself in a big city with relationships and self-discovery to test her along the way.

The sophomore album focuses on elements of rock, pop, R&B, and dance music all wrapped into a 12-song experience. The album, which was co-produced by Kid Harpoon, is mainly inspired by Rogers’ time in New York City, where her music career kicked off after a video of Pharrell reacting to her song at New York University went viral.

Rogers, who recently graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Religion and Public Life degree, wrote the album between experiencing burnout at the beginning of the pandemic to the middle of her Harvard program. During the pandemic, Rogers “spent time reflecting on music, her structure around music, and her responsibility to her audience,” according to a Harvard article.

The album brings a sense of belonging, which is something many of us try to find in our music consumption. It feels like a friend is telling you a story late at night with a guitar. The album is intimate, yet has the sing-along ability with lots of people. That is who Rogers is though as an artist; she gives us the ability to play her music along and feel the connection, or at Coachella and still feel that intimacy. She is able to have us truly surrender to the music and be transported to a cobblestone NYC street, late at night, with friends as we walk home with the credits rolling.

‘That’s Where I Am’ was the first single from the album that addressed the commitment of a long and winding relationship. The elements of rock by the drums and guitar showcase Rogers as not just an alternative artist, but one who can create new avenues for artists to come within her genre. The song debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Airplay chart.

With songs like ‘Want Want’ and ‘Shatter,’ Rogers brings elements from the 80s and 90s pop-rock with the fast-paced singing, up-beat drums, and electric piano-like tones. The 28-year-old said that three films were instrumental to the creation of the album: Ten Things I Hate About You, The Virgin Suicides, and Tampopo. These songs feel as if they could play while the credits roll at the end of a coming-of-age film.

The album also offers more personal songs, like ‘Horses,’ ‘Begging for Rain,’ and ‘Different Kind of World.’ All three songs discuss elements of heartbreak, finding a new sense of belonging, and realizing how a person can change over time.

“It’s a song about letting go. About wanting to feel free in a time where I felt an overwhelming amount of numbness,” Rogers said to the American Songwriter about ‘Horses.’

There is not one song that misses the mark when it comes to recommendations. With that being said, though, my top three songs from the album would have to be ‘Overdrive,’ ‘Shatter,’ and ‘Horses.’ I highly recommend listening to the album in its entirety to experience the journey Rogers intended.

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